May 28, 2010

Henderson Jersey To Be Destroyed?

There's still a month left to bid on arguably the most significant piece of memorabilia in Canadian hockey history. With over 20 bids and a current price tag of over $130,000, the winning bid on Paul Henderson's 1972 Summit Series jersey will be upwards of $300,000 or maybe even more.

On the email discussion group for the Society of International Hockey Research, fellow hockey historians pondered who may behind these bids and the fate of the jersey itself. Hopefully the anonymous winning bid will go to a well-money private collector. Hopefully he will be willing to share the jersey with the Hockey Hall of Fame at least part of the year.

SIHR member Ralph Slate (of hockeydb.com fame) postulated that with prices already so high, perhaps it is a private business who is after the jersey. He even stated, perhaps somewhat in jest, "Sadly, at that price, the jersey is likely being pursued by a trading card company who will destroy it by cutting it into "swatches" for inclusion in their hockey card packs."

This is a possibility. Back in 2000 the card company In The Game acquired the only known pair of goalie pads that belong to Georges Vezina. The company cut the pads up into 300 pieces and placed them on hockey cards sold in $5 packs. One card was recently listed on eBay at $349.

The company said their motivation was in "sharing the piece with fans around the world." I'd rather have seen the Vezina's pads and the other items donated to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Could the same happen to Paul Henderson's famous jersey?  They had previously done similar cards with cut ups of Johnny Bower's sticks, Terry Sawchuk's blocker, the gloves of Turk Broda and Jacques Plante, and Russian great Vladislav Tretiak's jersey. In The Game (ITG) does seem to have a preoccupation with the year 1972.

There is no doubt whoever wins this auction will have to be well-moneyed. Hopefully they are well intentioned, too.


Dennis said...

Joe, that's a horrific thought. It's something I never considered but understand it could certainly happen. This is where the Hockey Hall of Fame, if they have the clout, should step in and make sure this precious thing stays precious, and not cut up in pieces. Now I'm worried.

Joe Pelletier said...

Apparently the Hall of Fame is registered as a charity, and therefore unable to spend money to acquire items. They rely on donations.

Perhaps the winner will donate it at least part time to the Hall.

Joe Pelletier said...

Perhaps the Hall of Fame can acquire all of the cards and sew the jersey back together?

Markostickboy said...

That would be a Canadian sacrilege but these things happen.It would be the equivalent of me turning my hockey stick into sawdust and selling the grains.Mark O'Connell (Owner of the worlds oldest manufactured hockey stick).

missy said...

That would be horrible! That jersey should be in the Hall of Fame!

btw, Joe, I got your email, and I put this in today's Squid at Nucks Misconduct. thanks for the heads up :)

TS said...

Joe - I don't know when the auction ends, but given the huge quantity of votes you got for Terrace for the CBC contest you obviously have a wide-readership (and didn't you just pass a billion hits?), and how highly-regarded you and GHL.com are within and without the blogosphere: who could be better than you to start a campaign to put in a people's bid for the jersey?

I'm thinking any number of your local financial institutions would be pleased to act as trustee for the funds collected (any publicity is good publicity but free and positive publicity is...priceless -- hey, MasterCard loves to be identified with hockey!); and public and press figures (Don Cherry, Bobby Orr, Ron MacLean, Pierre Lebrun, James Mirtle, Eric Duhatschek, Jim Balsillie, Jim Hughson, Mark Messier...PM Harper?) would be happy to publicize the effort and maybe even contribute a buck or two. You must have some contacts with CBC after the contest.

Seems like what's needed is a push to get the ball rolling.

Who better than the creator and keeper of GHL to spearhead it?

I'd be happy to stroll down to my local financial institution and contribute $10 myself, and you know there are some deep pockets people out there who would get in on it.

Nice of me to volunteer you, of course; but it just seemed so obvious to me when I read your article after seeing your tweet on the subject.

Go for it, dude -- what else were you going to do all summer? You didn't really want to go camping and did you? And best of all, your better half will think you're a hero!

On a much less important note: I'd be glad to help any way I can.

A.D. Stauffer

Joe Pelletier said...

LOL - I wish GHL had a billion readers. I'm not that popular.

But essentially getting the ball rolling with the article. Your suggestion of a fund raising campaign is interesting, although I can not fathom raising enough. And I wouldn't know how to return the money or donate it otherwise.

It's an interesting idea, maybe one I will look for more input on.


TS said...

Tweet it and post it and ask your contacts to retweet and post it. One mention on Coach's Corner and you are rolling.

There's commenting and there's acting.

A.D. Stauffer